Jack Shadoianís work has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Conduit and other magazines. He has written extensively on film, literature, and popular culture, and was, at one time, a reviewer for Rolling Stone, Fusion, and other music magazines.

These Foolish Things

woke up with el serioso bedhead dent
and a crustacean clanking of stiff joints.
Stella had applied her pincers to draw blood,
and scared me plenty when her sharp incisors
got a bit insistent during the blowjob
portion of the evening
(she coaxed the little yelps she wanted).
I figured I must have done something wrong
to her body or her mind, but what?
women named Stella I find are particularly
hard to figure, donít you think?

anyway, we twisted ache-ily down to the beach
to fuck, Stella being a glutton for it in the sand
ever since she saw that John Holmes movie
her dum-dum brother Ernie left in the VCR.
I hate doing it in the sand: I hate sand, period.
but I love Stella, and to see her face light up,
even to my faulty rhythms, enchanted by the fresh air
and the soft-warm infinitude of sand,
and to observe how my sometimes inadequate member
was impressively contributing to her joy,
made me oblivious to what might otherwise have unnerved me:
the stares and comments of stray passers-by
taking what they imagined was a safe stroll on the beach.

we were down there pretty long, Stella and I,
she radiant, me worn out, the tide doing
its programmed incoming/outcoming gestures,
sandflies feasting copiously on unresisting flesh,
both of us in that state of dead-to-time we liked.

when the kiddies started coming down in clumps
with their pails and shovels, we got up and left.
I was so weak Stella had to drag me up the dune.
we had sand all over us. the house was dark,
and looking cool with its surrounding trees,
the telephone ringing. "but whoís to answer," Stella sang.
I tenored back: "oh, how the ghost of you clings!"
"thatís wrong," Stella snapped. "thatís wrong."

North Dakota Dentistry

the water boils for coffee, sound you
recognize, but there is none. you forgot.

muttering, you turn the burner off;
makes no sense to have it boil for naught.

behind the door, your patient patients wait
to open wide their mouths, old and young.

under your watchful, empty gaze, the morning
light begins to curiously vanish

into the heavy distant mountains, reversing
all known precedent. creepy.

absentmindedly, you check your instruments: tips,
curves, handles, smooth from years of service

(are they lined up properly, respectfully,
in the order they have come to expect?).

there is a faint chatter to the scene you are
imagining, like the approach of army ants

from somewhere far away, the kind that ate poor
Charlton Heston up, and kept you blinking deep

into the night, glued to the late show on 9 –
what was it called? – THE NAKED JUNGLE, yes,

the naked jungle here in North Dakota, people waiting
for you out there, offering suffering faces,

one of which, youíre pretty certain, placed your
hot hand on her fleshy thigh, crashing perfect teeth

against your crooked, wired-up ones, beneath the starlit
ceiling of The Palace, army ants advancing thunderously

to deaf ears so many many years ago – or is that the mere
delirium of having drilled a million fillings?

you open the door. days someone could love you come and go.
is this the way things are in South Dakota too?